Thursday, January 1, 2009

Winter in fifteen paragraphs.

Maybe I will work backwards.

Today is January 1, 2009, meaning last night was New Year's Eve. We hosted a party and, per usual, I worried excessively about what to wear, feared no one would come (or they would come and marvel at their awful luck in finding the worst party ever), and Brian and I argued over what champagne to buy at Costco.

The party began at 8, so Jill showed up at 8:30 and was the only person there for 20 minutes. Then Sarah showed up with three friends (made me feel very popular and briefly nervous), then Nate, Melissa, and a friend of theirs, then Trevor and Matt, then a friend of Jill's. Watched my Martha appearance (felt relieved people are not appalled by the nerdiness of this), Taboo, people left, more arrived, entertaining post-midnight call from Sarah snd friends, Melissa and Buster fell asleep, a stranger vomited on the bath rug, Rock Band. 3 am approached, and I began clearing empty glasses and crushed crackers from the table, which I felt was a perfectly obvious hint that the two-hour second round of Taboo should end. Everyone eventually put on their shoes and left. Happy 2009.

Snow fell from the middle of the month through Christmas, and I spent a stressful 24 hours from Christmas Eve to mid-Christmas day calling my mom and sister and changing our minds about whether Brian and I should brave Darrington's feet of snow and roads of ice. I didn't mind so much when, on Christmas Eve, mom called and said we should postpone. I've no particular sentimentality for dates. Then mom called again, late, and in her most Lifetime-Original-Movie-Not-Without-My-Daughters voice, said we would have Christmas together. At 9 am the next day, Caitie called to say it the snow was horrendous and she was afraid she'd be trapped in Darrington. I cried, felt like I'd failed the entire holiday season by being the only one absent. Mom gave the phone to Caitie, who reassured me. Brian and I stayed home, and I baked endlessly. I licked ganache from the spatula and gained five pounds.

In December, I went to the office seven days. We were closed for two of those, closed early a couple times, and generally dead the rest.

I hate the need to reiterate so much that I can't choose my words better. This feels like the Cliff Notes version of my life.

I spent two and a half weeks on vacation, visiting the friends who've left me for the northeast. Jill, Boston, and Northampton, MA were last. The cuteness of Northampton made me question my city-focused single-mindedness. Then, I've never been patriotic, or awed by US History, but felt both proud and impressed to see the site of the first public school (Boston). The Harvard campus was less interesting. The cold there made me want to cry.

I wasted time in Manhattan, but was glad for the freedom to do it. Natural History Museum, Whitney, wandered Greenwich, saw Willem DeFoe at an art opening in Chelsey, drank far too much coffee, drank far too much vodka at least once, spent all my money on food, only took the wrong train once, saw a couple Daily friends and slept one one's couch, was asked for directions many times and felt very New York about it, walked through Central Park and Macy's, slept in and went to bed late, drank wine and talked to Kelsey about men and books and birth control.

Also, went to a Martha Stewart taping and had my very own question selected as the first to be asked. Most exciting moment ever.

It was wet-snowy and cold, and I spent almost no time with Sarah, but Ann Arbor was great for wandering by myself after a couple days of constant contact with the six other people staying in Lysondra's Chicago studio. The law quad of Michigan is the perfect image of College Campus.

Chicago. Thanksgiving was basically over by the time I showed up (Sarah had already passed out tipsy and re-awoken once). I sat on the floor and ate pie, then we went out. My first night out in ages, it felt epic and fantastic. Great to meet new people, though a studio is a bit cozy for seven of us and it's not as great to be the only person who doesn't know everyone else so well. The last day, everyone but two of us went to the library, so we went to the Chicago Art Institute then walked around for far too long before meeting everyone else for dinner Greek - drinking ouzo with Sarah reminded me of Berlin. 

So that's how I spent 2 1/2 weeks.

My memory gets fuzzy this far back, but I assume Autumn quarter ended well. I had two seminar courses to lead, Women in CSE and a new freshmen seminar (19 men, 1 woman). 

I hosted Thanksgiving for the first time, and everything went well enough. My parents look significantly older every time I see them -- the way small children grow so quickly, they seem to be shrinking, wrinkling, speaking differently. My birthday passed without acclaim. 

Obama was elected president. We drank champagne, relieved and excited for change.

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